Joana Carvalho, PhD, science editor —

Joana holds a bachelor’s in biology, a Master of Science in evolutionary and developmental biology, and a PhD in biomedical sciences from Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — those that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns. In addition to several research fellowships, she was awarded two Erasmus scholarships to conduct part of her studies in France.

Articles by Joana Carvalho

Weill Neurohub Unites 3 Academic Centers with DOE Scientists to Advance Tools, Treatments for MS and Other Ills

Three academic research institutions launched the Weill Neurohub initiative, an effort to speed the discovery and development of therapies for neurological diseases that include multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and for psychiatric disorders like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. The initiative unites three West Coast…

7T MRI Reveals New Insights into Some RRMS Features

With the help of 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), investigators discovered that leptomeningeal enhancement — a radiographic finding indicative of brain inflammation — is more common than previously thought in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and is tied to lesions in specific regions of the brain.

#ECTRIMS2019 — Biogen Presents New Real-world Data Demonstrating Clinical Benefits of Tysabri, Plegridy, and Avonex

Biogen is presenting new data highlighting the potential clinical benefits of Tysabri (natalizumab), Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a), and Avonex (interferon beta-1a) for the treatment of specific groups of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), including pregnant women and patients with relapsing forms of the disease. The new…

Medical Marijuana Now Available to MS and Other Patients in Louisiana

Medical cannabis products, jointly developed by GB Sciences Louisiana (GBSL) and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center‘s (LSU AgCenter) Therapeutic Cannabis Program, are now available for purchase by qualified patients with illnesses that include multiple sclerosis (MS) at nine state-licensed pharmacies. The decision, announced by the Louisiana…

Rutgers Health Leading Program to Support MS Children

Rutgers Health is leading the Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis and Demyelinating Diseases Program, the only program in the state of New Jersey designed specifically to support children with multiple sclerosis (MS). The support program seeks to promote children’s access to cutting-edge therapies and clinical trials, and to educate…

3-D Brain Models of PPMS and Parkinson’s Off to Space Station for Research in Microgravity

The National Stem Cell Foundation announced the start of a pioneering project to investigate the impact of microgravity on the neurodegeneration associated with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. The project, a collaboration between the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, the Summit for Stem Cell, and investigators with Aspen Neuroscience, will send 3-D brain organoids derived from patients with these disorders, for a first time, to the International Space Station on SpaceX CRS-18. This flight, set to launch on July 21 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, is a test run for a 30-day study of neurodegeneration in microgravity set to take place on the space station this fall. "The National Stem Cell Foundation is delighted to be funding innovative science at the frontier of new drug and cell therapy discovery. The leading-edge research findings that have developed through this collaboration between important research groups may fundamentally alter our understanding of how and why neurodegeneration occurs," Paula Grisanti, chief executive officer of the NSCF, said in a press release. These organoids, or 3-D cellular brain models, contain microglia — cells that normally support and protect neurons. Microglia are implicated in the brain inflammation and disease progression seen in people with Parkinson's, PPMS, and other neurodegenerative disorders. The project will allow scientists in the near absence of gravity to study how these cells interact with each other, migrate, send and receive chemical signals, change their genetic signature, and promote brain inflammation. As such, investigators may get a glimpse of all the biological mechanisms involved in PPMS and Parkinson's in ways not feasible on Earth. This work might lead to understandings and advancements with a direct impact on the development of medicines and cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Space Tango is leading the transport and maintenance logistics, to ensure the cells arrive at the ISS in the best possible condition and remain viable during the 30 days they will remain in orbit. To that end, the company has developed a series of automated systems intended to surpass conventional lab techniques, and allow space station researchers to work with a higher number of samples than typical, and use high-throughput techniques to easily analyze them. According to the company, these automated systems are not intended exclusively for research on the ISS, but may also be used by research facilities worldwide to support and accelerate scientific innovation. "The vision the National Stem Cell Foundation brings to using new approaches to science and creating collaborations between leading experts in Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis from across the country is truly unique," said Jana Stoudemire, commercial innovation officer at Space Tango. "In addition to supporting the development of tissue chip platforms for microgravity, Space Tango is excited to expand capabilities for human 3-D brain organoid models that will assist in studying some of the most challenging diseases we have yet to truly understand," Stoudemire added. "We are very pleased to support this important research on the ISS."